Al Duhail laid low a resurgent Muaither 4-1 in the opening match of Week 2 of the 2023-2024 season Expo Stars League at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday.
This was the defending champions' second successive win of the new season. While the promoted Muaither had somewhat brightened their hopes, coming back after suffering the first goal, they were overhauled by The Red Knights in the second session. The teams were locked 1-1 at half-time.
Al Duhail star Michael Olunga scored a brace, while Almoez Ali assisted in three for the winners.
Olunga scored in the ninth and 76th minutes of the match. Ibrahima Diallo struck in the 68th minute and substitute Isaac Lihadji sent the ball into the back of the net in added time (90+7 minute).
For Muaither, Romanian forward Denis Alibec scored their only goal in the 37th minute.
While the strong Al Duhail showed their class and composure, Muaither too stood out with their fighting abilities.
Al Duhail opened their scoring early, with Almoez and Olunga combining effectively and the latter converting the chance with a left-foot back flip in front of the goal much like the one he had scored in the first match against Al Ahli.
Muaither then latched on to a great opportunity as a defensive lapse of Mohammed Khalid Al Naimi saw an alert Alibec run from the centre of the box to score.
Then it looked as if Muaither would fight hard against Al Duhail going into the break at 1-1. However, Al Duhail came out guns blazing and silenced their rivals.
Diallo got Al Duhail back into the lead (2-1) after the side broke past the defence line and Almoez sent the ball to the unmarked player to strike from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
Olunga was then back into big action running-in to head an Almoez cross from a close distance on the right (3-1).
Young French player Lihadji then joined the delight of scoring as his left-footer hit the inside of the left post before going in. He was assisted by Kim Moon-Hwan, who earlier worked his way past the defenders.
Muaither had their chances, but they lacked finishing. In the 39th minute of the match, Jamal Hamed Mayor missed to connect a perfect cross in front of the goal while in the 87th minute, Guy Mbenza could not beat rival goalkeeper Salah Zakaria.
In added time, Muaither did get the ball in, but the goal was disallowed as the player had handled the ball on the bounce before taking the kick. (QNA)
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